Review of Sichuan Airlines flight Chengdu Nanjing in Business

Airline Sichuan Airlines
Flight 3U8993
Class Business
Seat 2F
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 02:30
Take-off 14 Mar 16, 18:25
Arrival at 14 Mar 16, 20:55
3U 13 reviews
BobbieD
By 3730
Published on 25th March 2016
This is the final leg of my outbound flight to Nanjing, China. This leg was with Sichuan Airlines. You can find the reports of the other legs below:


outbound
MAN-AMS KL1094 - http://flight-report.com/en/report-13562.html
AMS-CTU KL891 - http://flight-report.com/en/report-13665.html
CTU-NKG 3U8993 - this report

return:
NKG-CAN CZ3844
CAN-CDG AF107
CDG-MAN AF1668

Arriving in Chengdu,I had to collect my baggage pass through immigration and re-check in. Chengdu is famous as the home of the Pandas and there was a small display for arriving passengers to look at.

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I passed trough immigration without any hassle and made my way to the check-in area. When I booked this flight, the booked had said that this leg would be an economy flight. So I made my way to the economy desk. After a few minutes off checking my details the lady said that I was in the wrong queue - I should be over there in the first class section. First class I thought, how exciting!



As I had around 6 hours to waste, I wondered outside the terminal into the freedom of China! There looked to be lots of building work going on in front of the terminal.



No much else to see, so I went back inside, passed through the security and went in search of the 1st class lounge. I saw my KLM 747 through the windows.

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To the lounge I went. It was very small, a bit like a hut inside the terminal. There was a thrilling politicaldebate going on on the TV. I helped myself to a drink and sat down to check out the great firewall of China.

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The internet connection was ok and I managed to get onto flight-report to write up the first leg of the trip.

The 6 hours passed slowly. About an hour before my flight the staff came tome and asked if I would like anything to eat. After a bit of umming and ahhing they managed to think of some food that didn't contain any meat. After quite a while they came back with my meal (I have no idea where it came from, there didn't seem to be a kitchen in sight. I was presented with some noodles under which was a very thick black sauce. I think I had this a few years ago in a random chinese restaurant in the UK (if anybody knows what the dish is called I'd love to know). It was really good and as I had said I liked spicy they brought out a chilli based sauce/oil. Sichuan is well known in China as having spicy food - right up my alley.

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It was then time to board.

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I passed by the economy passengers into the priority lane and walked onto the aircraft taking my seat 2F. Here's the cabin. I ctually classed this flight as a business class flight. There are only two classes on the aircraft economy and first and it would be unusual to have first without a business class especially for internal flights. (please correct me if you think I should change this to first class).

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The seat layout was a proper 2+2 layout, none of this just blocking of the middle seat. It was also quite comfortable and wide. I was provided with a welcome drink of orange juice. In the seat pocket were the usual magazines and safety card.



I was also offered some slippers.

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The attendant asked what I would like to eat. There seemed to be no vegetarian option here. She said she could offer me something that the economy passengers were having. After take off, I was served some nuts.

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Then it was time for the main meal.

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The vegetarian choice didn't seem to have have made it. There was what looked like some great food containing, beef, pork and fish. I obliviously didn't have this. Then some chicken arrived instead. I didn't want that either. But I managed to get some cake to go with the fruit from the real meal. I felt bad for wasting so much food, there was really quite a lot of it and in fairness it did look really good. The whole China experience has been difficult for me regarding food, it just isn't in their culture, meat is seen as being prestigious. What I do find strange is that there should be a tradition of non-meat food from the peasants and from Buddhist culture. It just hasn't translated into restaurants. Anyway I digress.

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We landed in Nanjing early. I collected my baggage and was picked up from the airport by taxi.
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Verdict

Sichuan Airlines

5.3/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Meal/catering3.0

Air China Lounge

6.5/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Services6.0

Chengdu - CTU

6.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Nanjing - NKG

7.6/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

This flight is called a first class service (which seems to be common in China), but I have classed it as business as there isn't an actual business class.

The lounge was quite basic but I was personally offered a warm meal (there may have been a menu but it everything was in chinese).

The food on-board looked really good, but unfortunately I wasn't able to eat it as no vegetarian option was available. Luckily Ihad just eaten anyway. The staff were friendly but didn't speak great English and still gave me a meal I didn't want. There was no individual entertainment, only screens from the ceiling.

Related

12 Comments

  • Comment 160439 by
    FFlyerCDG 2828 Comments

    Thanks for the report.

    Never flew with 3U but your experience was quite impressive...
    The way they welcomed you in the lounge and the efforts they made regarding your food requirements are really surprising in a country were individuality is rarely the norm !!!

    • Comment 337078 by
      BobbieD AUTHOR 95 Comments

      Thanks for reading.

      Yes I was really quite surprised myself in the lounge. It was a nice welcome to China. I think that maybe the ladies in the lounge had gotten bored. I had been there alone for quite a number of hours and this happened right towards the end. This is China though and food is very important, it was dinner time and they must have taken pity on me! It's a shame this didn't carry over onto the plane though. I blame the booking system of KLM/AF, there's no way to add special meals for their partner airline. In hindsight I should have realised this and tried to go to Sichuan airlines directly to try.

    • Comment 337082 by
      FFlyerCDG 2828 Comments

      How can you imagine AF/KLM will ever be able to manage special diet requirements with Asian partners when, on certain occasions, they are unable to provide you with two BP when you're flying SEA-SFO-CDG with both DL and AF :-))

    • Comment 337088 by
      BobbieD AUTHOR 95 Comments

      Haha fair enough! I had some fun times too on the return trip. They managed to checked my luggage all the way through back to MAN via CDG but I had to go and get more boarding passes in CAN. Weird

  • Comment 160440 by
    Scott05 565 Comments

    Thank you for this domestic China experience!
    The lounge looks indeed a bit basic but the meal option and attentive staff seems to compensate.
    Always nice to have proper business class seats at the front of the plane, a shame they don't come with integrated IFE.
    The meal issue is a shame, but like you said it's cultural. It does look quite appealling to me.

    • Comment 337079 by
      BobbieD AUTHOR 95 Comments

      Yes the lounge was quite basic in itself but as you say the staff made up for it.

      The seats on-board were really nice, it puts other airlines who just use the standard seats without a middle passenger to shame.

      It was a shame about the IFE. Without giving too much away on my return with China Southern this was much improved, keep tuned!

    • Comment 337124 by
      BobbieD AUTHOR 95 Comments

      Thanks for the comments!

      It seems like I should try to visit Taiwan then

  • Comment 160453 by
    marathon GOLD 9514 Comments

    I think that the food in Chongqing (which used to be part of Sichuan) and Hunan is even more spicy, but Sichuan is indeed in the world major league in this regard.

    I see no reason to classify this flight as First. It's bad enough to have a Domestic First in the US :)

    My impression is that vegetarian food is not common in Mainland China. That religions, including Buddhism, were severely oppressed for decades did not help. Incidentally, there are very good vegetarian restaurants in Taiwan, ostensibly targeting devout Buddhists (but all customers are welcome!).
    This report reminds me of a business meeting in China : at lunch, the Westerners got Western junk food (supposed to please them, hum...), the Chinese got good Chinese food and the sole vegetarian Westerner got a made on order delicious Chinese dish. (There was as usual more food than needed, and I quickly switched to Chinese food^^)

    Thanks for sharing !

  • Comment 160462 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    The 3U Lounge looks very reminiscent of the Chinese lounges I've had the privilege of entering. It is very kind of them to approach you and even offer to find food for you to meet your diet in the lounge.

    please correct me if you think I should change this to first class
    - You are right, China follows a US F/Y split for domestic flights, but I'd just class this as J for practical purposes since this is the cabin you'd get on an international flight with 3U. The cabin looks the same as all the F/J cabins I've seen on Chinese narrow-bodies.

    Had you requested a special meal before the flight? I feel like everytime I've flown a Chinese carrier, there has always been a seafood option. So not having anything for you to eat is pretty poor, even with the attempt to offer a Y meal.

    I've found several good vegetarian restaurants usually close to temples run by Buddhist monks, but these are rare in the cities.

    PS - Love the snazzy yellow slippers, they'd look great in my collection.

    • Comment 337125 by
      BobbieD AUTHOR 95 Comments

      Haha the slippers were certainly beautiful :P

      Yes it does seem much more like a business class than 1st. I did really like the seats, very comfortable and wide with plenty of leg room.

      Actually I did try a few of the temples to eat in. Simple good food and really cheap prices too.

    • Comment 337149 by
      BobbieD AUTHOR 95 Comments

      There was just a small selection of packaged snacks available an something that might have been a menu. As all was in Chinese I can't be sure.

      The on-board food was of a very large size, I think you would certainly feel full if you were to eat it all and I imagine it tasted good too!

  • Comment 160499 by
    KL651 TEAM 4454 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.

    So the lounge didn't have any food on offer and they had to offer something from the outside? At least that's good service.

    The meal really is impressive for a flight of that duration, it's just a shame you couldn't enjoy it.

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